The Storykeeper

The film* The novel* The true story

Film Screenings and Awards:

Accolade Award, 2012

Jaipur International Film Festival, First List of Nominated Films, 2013

Geneva Film Festival, Winner, Best Documentary Short, 2013

Universe Multicultural Film Festival, Winner, Best Documentary Short, 2014

Shortlisted for OneCloudFest Prize, Spring 2013

Nominated, Best Documentary, Naperville Film Festival, 2013

Nominated, Best Short Documentary, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, 2013

Official Selection, Albany Film Festival, 2013

Official Selection, Thin Line Film Festival, 2013

René Psarolis was seven years old in June, 1944. One evening, he was walking down his Parisian street, rue de la Chapelle, and heard a deafening roar. He looked up and saw a ball of silver roar overhead and explode nearby. Flames shot into the air as he ran toward the scene. René saw a German, the first he had seen up close, moving three dead bodies into a truck. Graham Greene wrote, "There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in." This was such a moment for René.

All through the Liberation celebrations two months later, this boy watched American soldiers in the backs of trucks cheer and wave, tossing out candies and gifts. He thought of the men on that plane. He imagined them alive.

René grew up and moved away, but he returned to Paris for a visit in December, 1966. He went out walking one dim and drizzly afternoon, and found himself in his old neighborhood. He continued until he came to a stop in front of something. Through the gray mist, a plaque slowly came into focus.

Who were the three dead Americans he had seen? How many had been in the crew? Had there been others who had fallen out of the plane, or even parachuted down into Paris? René heard a voice very distinctly say into his ear, "Don't forget us."

This moment caused a change inside René: his questions transformed into a quest. He began to travel frequently to Paris from the U.K., where he now lived. He perused bookstalls on the Seine, frequented the national library in the Marais, and sent letters seeking information and eyewitnesses.

Gradually, René pieced it all together. But what he did next changed him even more: he began to give these stories to the people who needed them most. He brought two survivors back to Paris to honor them and offer them a chance to re-live their experience and meet those who had helped them. He had plaques put up all over Paris and invited family members of the fallen men to come.

For his collection and sharing of these stories, René was awarded the medal for Veterans of Foreign Wars from the United States.


The film:

In October of 2011, Dutch filmmaker Rogier van Beeck Calkoen and I filmed a short documentary, The Storykeeper, which is the winner of an Accolade Award of Merit, and is currently being shown at film festivals around the world.

This is an independent film created, developed, and made by people who believe this is how the stories of history are best kept and guarded, and René Psarolis's experience has implications for all of us.


- Rogier van Beeck Calkoen and Erin Byrne

Scenes from filming:


The True Story:

Here you will find the full, true story of René Psarolis, including stories of the crew members: one man's experience being passed through occupied Paris by members of the Résistance; another landing dead in a wheelbarrow, true to a premonition written just days earlier in his journal, where townspeople cared for his body, tales of capture and liberation, of synchronicity and deep friendship. Also included will be photos, documents, letters, journal entries and other images. Click on the link below to read the first chapter, Mentalité Terrible,.  Chapter 2, The Boy, will be available soon.

Enjoy this astonishing tale of how one man kept a story that touched his life . . . and all that happened when he gave it to the world.